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S&P/ASX 200 soars: what’s happening on the share market today

Credit: Lucas Walters

The local share market looks set to snap its six-day losing streak today with the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) soaring 81 points, or 1.7% early in the session.

That follows a rally on Wall Street overnight before the Federal Reserve’s highly-anticipated interest rate decision (Thursday morning, our time), with the local bourse sitting at 4990 points as at the time of writing, up from yesterday’s two-and-a-half-year low of just 4909 points.

Indeed, a number of Australia’s blue-chip shares have enjoyed strong gains thus far, not least BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP). The ‘Big Australian’ has endured a terrible run recently and hit a new 10-year low earlier this week, but has today surged 3.1% higher to $16.78 per share. Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) has also lifted 1.8%, while Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) shares have risen 1.8%.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) and Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) have been the best of the ‘Big Four’ banks, rising 1.8% each, with all four lifting more than 1%. Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) also rose 1.1%, while Woolworths Limited (ASX: WOW) and Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES) jumped 1.7% and 1.9%, respectively.

The big exception today for companies enjoying strong rebounds were those in the healthcare sector – particularly those that will likely be affected by the government cuts announced yesterday. Primary Health Care Limited’s (ASX: PRY) share price is down 5.8%, although it initially fell as much as 20%, while Sonic Healthcare Limited’s (ASX: SHL) shares have fallen 4.6%.

Although there is no telling what the market will do this afternoon, next week, next month or even next year, today’s rally is encouraging for investors. Given that the broader market is trading near its lowest level since mid-2013, now could be a great time to pick up shares in some of the country’s high-quality companies.

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ASXvalueinvest.

The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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